Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/56

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xxxiv
[Prior Discoveries.
INTRODUCTION.

Bampton and
Alt
1793.

captain Hill of the New-South- Wales corps, who was a passenger went away armed, with five seamen in a whale boat; and were expected to return on the following day; but the 4th, 5th, and 6th, passed, without any tidings of them; although many signal guns had been fired.

On the 7th, two boats, manned and armed, under the command of Mr. Dell, chief mate of the Hormuzeer, were sent in search of the whale boat. On reaching the island, Mr. Dell heard conch shells sounding in different parts; and saw eighty or ninety armed natives upon the shore. To the inquiries, by signs, after the missing boat, they answered that she was gone to the westward; but none of them would venture near; nor did they pay attention to a white handkerchief which was held up, and had before been considered a signal of peace.

As the boats proceeded in their search, round the island, the natives followed along the shore, with increasing numbers. One man, who was rubbed with something blue, and appeared to be a chief, had a small axe in his hand; which was known, from the red helve, to have belonged to Mr. Shaw. On reaching the bay in the north-west side of the island, Mr. Dell remarked that the natives disappeared; all except about thirty, who were very anxious in persuading him to land. They brought down women; and made signs, that the boat and people whom he sought, were a little way up in the island. He, however, rowed onward; when the beach was immediately crowded with people, who had been lying in ambush, expecting him to land.

After having gone entirely round the island, and seen nothing of the object of his research, Mr. Dell returned to the first cove; Where a great concourse of natives, armed with bows, arrows, clubs, and lances, were assembled at the outskirt of the wood. By offering knives and other things, a few were induced to approach the boat; and the coxswain seized one of them by the hair and neck,

with the intention of his being taken off to the ships, to give an